December 14th, 2010 – Update: The post on Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” has now been removed again, but the problem is not yet over. Please check out the comments below for an update from Jill herself.
December 11th, 2010 – Update: The post on Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” has been updated and now credits Jill as the source and Carmen indicates that she spoke to and straightened everything out with Jill. However, from what I understand, this is simply not true. She never reached out to Jill and all is not OK. The story isn’t over yet. Please continue to show your support of Jill and let ELLE Spain know you are behind her!
Copyright infringement is a serious topic, and something that was just recently covered in Friend Friday. I said it then, and in the case of blogger Jill Carin Adams of Street Style: Pics by Polka Dot, it certainly applies: copying isn’t a form of flattery – it is stealing.
A writer for Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” posted a new article on December 3rd that contains 4 of Jill’s photos (note: as of 12/14 the article has been pulled, but the issue is still not settled). The author, Carmen Bejerano, never contacted Jill about the photos and did not credit her as the source. Further, the likeness of these ladies was posted by Spanish Elle without their permission and one of them is a minor!
According to a post of Jill’s from earlier today:
“To be told that the author of ‘Bye Bye Madrid’ was playing with the theme of these English girls looking cold.. and for someone to be allowed to comment (when I wasn’t!) on said blog, that Roz – who had just come out of hospital for major back surgery, who was taking her daily walk on a cold November day (Bonfire Night, to be precise) as per the doctor’s orders, as part of her recovery.. legally underage Roz, who posed for photos with her mother and her father watching, WHO DID NOT ASK TO BE CRITIQUED by a group of strangers on Spanish Elle.. to hear people say that her face looked ‘cold’ – and to know that I could not take those comments down: all I can say is, Carmen B, and your employer, Spanish Elle Magazine: you have chosen the wrong person to mess with.”
They haven’t just chosen the wrong person to mess with – they now have a whole slew of bloggers and readers to deal with that are backing up Jill.
Jill has commented on Carmen’s post only to have it stuck in “moderation” mode. She has emailed ELLE Spain, left messages with the publisher of US ELLE Magazine, and spoken to someone in the London ELLE office. She has turned to twitter to see if someone will respond to her. Her readers, myself included, have commented on Carmen’s blog, asking that this copyright infringement be remedied. All to no avail.
Bloggers are passionate about what we do. What we write. What we photograph. Our blogs are more than a hobby – they are an extension of ourselves. They are our “babies”, and we are more than a little protective of them.
That is why you should never mess with a blogger. Not only are we passionate about our own work – we can also be fiercely protective of one another.
Think about it for a second.
How do you think you’d feel if you learned that someone else, someone who works for a mainstream fashion publication, had used your photography without your permission? How would you feel if you were neither credited nor mentioned? If your comments inquiring about the images were censored? If your numerous queries were left unanswered?
Not a pleasant thought, right?
Now, imagine that these “stolen” images were photos of your friends. Individuals who had granted you permission to use their likeness on your blog. Individuals you respect. Individuals you care for. How would you feel if you learned that these very images – photos of your friends – were being critiqued by the guilty blogger. Used as examples of what “not” to wear. Ridiculed.
Would you feel violated? Small? Powerless?
This is exactly what happened to Jill, and now she is asking for our help:
“This is so not the post I want to be doing. There’s so much I’d rather be focusing on. And I can’t bear to fight with anyone. But I’m going to ask all of you to please read this and please comment and tweet and just generally spread the word around. I’m doing it for me, but I’m also doing it for you, because when it happens to you, you’re probably going to feel like I do now: a bit fragile, a bit violated.”
Here are a few things you can do to help: